04-28-2013 02:06:38 PM
I'm hoping that somebody can help me out here. I have a summer camper out in a remote location in Illinois. AT&T service is extremely spotty at this location. Most of the time I get no signal and very rarely I get one bar. Wireline internet is not available in the campground at all. I previously had a Verizon 3G USB internet dongle hooked up to a Cradlepoint mobile router and my 3G Microcell was working perfectly. Since then, I have changed my internet to a US Cellular 4G LTE stick for the increased internet speed and my 3G Microcell no longer activates. I've gone in and deleted the Microcell from my account and re-added it multiple times. It gets past the first 3 steps (Power-up complete, Software update complete, and location verification complete.) It always gets stuck at the 4th step and says activation error. On the Microcell, the 3G light constantly blinks green every few seconds but never goes solid. I've went as far as completely disabling the firewall on the router to no avail.
Does anybody have any ideas? I do not quite understand how it worked before on a 1.5 mbps download, .75 upload 3G connection but it doesn't want to work on a 16 mbps download, 8 mbps upload 4G LTE connection. I appreciate any help you can provide. Thank you!
04-28-2013 04:42:38 PM
The MicroCell is 3G only so 4G/LTE cannot be used, but the MicroCell should pick the slower connection speed if the protocol is available (it should be). The fact that it worked with your previous mobile setup is pretty amazing. It may be that US Cellular switches to a different tower for 4G/LTE and not an AT&T 3G tower so the MicroCell can't connect to that tower and thus activation won't complete. Now that you've changed providers and dongles there may be an incompatibility. If reactivating your account at your primary address (home) works, then it may be the US Cellular dongle.
04-28-2013 04:50:49 PM
The one thing that I have not tried is setting the US Cellular USB dongle to "3G only mode."
I don't quite understand what you mean by "US Cellular might switch to a different tower for 4G LTE and not an AT&T 3G tower."
I thought the Microcell doesn't connect to any cell towers, instead solely through the internet connection provided?
04-28-2013 06:28:16 PM
Defiitely switch the dongle to 3G only. Hopefully that will correct your connection issue. The MicroCell is not a VOIP service, it still needs to connect to a local AT&T tower for GPS confirmation and ocassional polling of the device to see if it is still at the same GPS location that is in an AT&T tower service area.
04-28-2013 06:33:48 PM
Oh I see. Well the GPS light always goes solid green shortly after I power the Microcell up. Another thing I forgot to add, I had an extra 3G Microcell that I tried also and it does the exact same thing getting stuck at the same step.
04-28-2013 06:47:55 PM
The GPS lights up once it has made satellite cofirmation of your GPS coordinates. Those are then compared to the AT&T tower database to insure that you are in an AT&T service area. If you buy a used MicroCell then it has to be deactivated by the original owner (removed from the account) before you can reactivate it with your account information. MicroCell's are identified by their serial numbers so if you try to setup a different MicroCell at the same physical location using the same account holder information, make sure you change the serial number on the activation page.
04-28-2013 06:51:17 PM
That makes sense. We don't have actual addresses for our campers in the campground but I set it up to the road closest to me. Both of the 3G Microcells booted up and went solid green on the GPS. I do know we are in an AT&T tower area as their is an AT&T tower all the way in the front of the campground.
04-29-2013 08:07:15 AM
Is their anyway for me to setup a VPN IP tunnel so the Microcell communicates directly with the Microcell servers at AT&T?
I found out that I'm assigned a private NAT'ed IP address for LTE from US Cellular.
04-29-2013 08:24:50 AM
Only one of your devices can handle the NAT duties otherwise the MicroCell won't work correctly (double NAT). So if your modem/gateway is setup to do NAT, then the router can't. You can turn off NAT in your router if you have is setup that way and then port forward to a static assigned MicroCell IP address based on the MAC address of the MicroCell.
Using the closest physical address (GPS) usually works for a situation like yours if you don't have a "real addrss".
04-29-2013 12:53:26 PM
See the link in my sig for the MicroCell Setup and Troubleshooing Guide. There may be something useful there, but it does say that only one of your devices can be performing the NAT duties.
04-29-2013 04:59:31 PM
I've tried everything in the troubleshooting guide already. I called US Cellular today and I came to the conclusion that US Cellular's NAT firewall must be blocking the necessary ports to communicate with the AT&T Microcell server at AT&T.
I'm going to have to try switching the USB stick to 3G only mode since they DO hand out public IP addresses over their 3G network but everything is a private IP address over LTE, unfortunately. The LTE speeds sure were nice.
04-29-2013 05:13:02 PM
You won't achieve anywhere near LTE speeds when using the MicroCell. That's why I leave WiFi on all of the time. The phone will use the MicroCell for voice calls etc but data transfer will be done over WiFi cause it's much faster and is the prefered connection protocol when at home.
04-29-2013 05:42:31 PM
I'm sorry I worded that wrong for you. I meant the LTE US Cellular speeds I got via my wireless router. Once I switch my USB modem to 3G only mode to see if the Microcell works I will no longer get the US Cellular LTE speeds I was getting before unfortunately. =[
04-29-2013 06:48:38 PM
05-02-2013 04:46:48 PM
I sure hope so.
If it doesn't, is their anyway for me to setup a VPN tunnel to my home internet connection (Comcast 25 mbps download, 5 mbps upload) and somehow get the Microcell to communicate through my home internet instead of going through US Cellular's private network?
05-02-2013 05:50:40 PM
That's a good question. AT&T can't help you on the setup so you'd have to check with US Cellular on VPN tunneling thru their network. My gut feeling is no because of the way the MicroCell needs to be connected to the internet and a local tower.